Riverland’s Project Hope: Under the Radar, But Not for Long

Riverland Providence project. Photo courtesy of Randy Smith

Along I-5, south of Knighton Road, there is an 80-acre piece of Redding in the County. This parcel of Churn Creek Bottom land also has Sacramento River frontage containing a remaining piece of the original forested river margin.

Riverland Open Space is being transformed from a climax growth of impenetrable non-native weeds into a productive agricultural and riparian paradise.

riverland woods

Some of the finest soil in Shasta County is there. Providence International which holds a long-term lease to the land is led by visionary Robert “Bud” Hancock.

Many have joined this venture, including Glenn Hawes, Sierra Pacific Industries, California Conservation Corps, Rotary Club of Redding’s Allied Stream Team, City of Redding, Les Melburg, J&J Pumps, as well as salvaged, once-lost individuals and a host of others.

This ideas and this place comes amid all the studies, meetings, hand-wringing and proposals to save Redding from being overrun by illegal campers, vagrants, drug-dealers and users.

Here is a working demonstration that offers a meaningful solution apart from ongoing tax-supported endeavor including endless conversations, circular programs and jails. Nothing is more vital, vibrant, valuable and fulfilling than being able to grow food, obtain meaningful labor and become productive members of society.

riverland providence

For some reason, very few know about the plans at Riverland’s Hope Farms. Besides the cash crops already growing on the property, the long-range plans include a wide variety of producing fruit trees, fish aquaculture, farm animal husbandry, solar- and wind-energy production as well as restoration, creation and maintenance of a riparian connector to an additional 200 upstream acres belonging to the Bureau of Land Management.

Providence Gardens of Hope site plan

Exactly why this project remains under the community’s radar is not fully understood. Perhaps part of the reason stems from the fact that the idea and driving force is quiet, unassuming, diligent and self-effacing.

It is past time for this creative and already proven idea to gain even greater understanding and support.

riverland river view

Pictures, aerial videos, professional drawings and plans tell only a part of the story. Readers are invited to visit, to tour and marvel at what is being accomplished while many meet to ponder, lament and study what can be done to save our village.

Click here for Mike Mangas’ KRCR report about this project. 

Donations to Providence for Riverland Park are tax deductible to P.O. Box 993544 Redding CA 96099, or you may donate on line at EndPovertyZONE.org and designate Riverland Park/Farm.

Directions to Riverland Park and Farm: I-5 interstate south from Redding to exit at Knighton Road west. Proceed south one half mile on Riverland Drive (west of and parallel to I-5 toward RV Park). Enter to your right at 7230 Riverland Drive and proceed to parking.

Randall R. Smith

Randy Smith is a retired physician, morphed into a full-time professional volunteer. He is a former member of the Redding Planning Commission and Cal-Tip Advisory Board. He is an active member and the founder of the Allied Stream Team of Rotary Club of Redding. He lives in Redding with his wife, Judy.

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